Do You Own A Type of Dog People Tend to Be Afraid Of? (Guest Essay)

Note: Thank you to one of my readers, “KL,” for contributing this essay.

“I’m really nervous about the German Shepherd.”

I was walking with my dog at our favorite off-leash hiking area, and from about ten feet away, I heard a woman say this to her husband.

Oblivious, my dog trotted along with her nose to the ground, tail waving slightly as it does when she is enjoying herself. I called to her, and we walked off in the opposite direction.

The path is constructed as a circle, so we crossed paths with these people a couple of more times. Each time, we turned around and went the other way, my dog promptly and obediently responding to my call. Each time, the woman made a nervous comment that I overheard.

We weren’t doing anything wrong, but it was clear that this woman was afraid of my dog and wished we would leave the park.

Do you own a type of dog people tend to be afraid of

This was far from the first time things like this had happened.

As my puppy grew out of the floppy-eared fuzzball stage and into that distinctive black and tan saddle pattern and pricked ears, people we met began to keep their distance. Parents started crossing the street with their kids when they saw us coming. Teenagers would call out warnings to their friends: “That German Shepherd will bite you!”

This avoidance confuses my dog from time to time. She doesn’t know she is a German Shepherd or what that means to people. I may laugh privately at someone’s overreaction if it’s comically over the top, but the reality is that some people have deeply rooted fears of this breed. The wolf-like silhouette and trademark stance are practically iconic, and they are a powerful symbol.

My dog and I are a data point. She didn’t ask for this role, but she’s a breed ambassador anytime we are out and about.

We’re in good company with the responsible owners of pits, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, to name a few, and remembering what this means is important: It means some people will notice my dog, and a subset of those people will judge an entire breed by how she handles herself.

It is essential that I am prepared to recognize fear and respond appropriately.

Being aware and sensitive to this requires an extra layer of alertness when we’re out in the community. It means that I can never give the impression that I am not in control. I have to uphold high standards for her public manners; behaviors that are normal at home and that would communicate playfulness or frustration may be perceived as more aggressive than the same behavior in other types of dogs.

It means that my dog would ideally look friendly (luckily, she is generally outgoing). I must be a courteous handler who is aware of the presence of others and allows them their space. It might even mean altering a planned walking route in order to avoid looking like we’re following someone who seems nervous.

Do you have a type of dog people tend to be afraid of

I’m not here to say that the kind of prejudice that comes from fears of particular breeds is a good thing, or something to enable. It exists, it’s often understandable – perhaps based in past trauma – and it doesn’t strike me as constructive to point fingers at people for feeling that way; fear isn’t rational.

The best thing I can do is show my dog as a positive counterpoint. So I can’t complain about being a breed ambassador. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate that this breed I love so much can be an excellent pet and sport or working companion when appropriately socialized and trained.

My dog is a pet and will never be bred, but every time she wins over someone new, I see her contributing to the future of German Shepherds as a whole.

Do you own a type of dog people tend to be afraid of? How do you work with that?

What does being a breed ambassador mean to you?

Read KL’s past essay “What do good breeders and good rescues have in common?”

Related posts:

Why we need dog awareness, not pitbull awareness

How to piss off a Labrador owner

Are pitbull memes doing more harm than good?

55 thoughts on “Do You Own A Type of Dog People Tend to Be Afraid Of? (Guest Essay)”

  1. Thank you for a well written, positive, thought provoking essay! My breeds ( Rat Terriers & Chihuahuas) don’t register that response, just the opposite… Everyone wants to “pet” them. But honestly, I have to be guarded w/them because 4 of our 7 I personally don’t trust w/their responses.
    Now conversely, I volunteer w/a rescue that pulls death row bully breeds from the regional kill pound. They are then home fostered. I volunteer by taking these dogs hiking w/me on trails that I often encounter hikers, family outings, & other dogs. I always am friendly & do my best to set these dogs up to succeed in all situations. I find all these rescue bully breeds to be more “dependable” than my own nutty crew.

    1. It’s interesting you mention that you make efforts to be friendly and approachable. A friend of mine who owns pit types is generally a friendly person, but she does play that up when out in the community. She greets or waves at most people we pass on walks. Pits also seem to be the bad dog de jour, so I can see the necessity. I tend more toward the same aloofness my dog is known for, so my best face forward is not being friendly but being polite and aware of my surroundings. It’s great for my dog to have a friendly, nonthreatening demeanor, but I prefer for us to glide through largely unnoticed because she’s well mannered and doesn’t attract attention!

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    I have a big black Lab mix, and most people seem to see him as a black Lab and in their minds that means friendly. But just because he’s a big dog, I do notice some people (rarely) do seem a little scared of him on walks, so I just make sure to give them as much space as I can. Actually, I always try to give people space on walks because I never know who might be afraid of my dog. I try to be respectful of that. With a “Lab,” I’m definitely aware that people do not judge an entire breed based on my dog’s actions. If he were to show aggression, most people wouldn’t blame his “breed.”

    1. Thanks again for running my essay, Lindsay! I enjoy this blog very much and it’s fun to contribute on a guest basis.

      I hear a lot of comments about shepherds and how bad breeding affects temperament. While I agree that it does, and that a shepherd is one of the breeds where you really want to do your homework on lines and their temperaments, it is interesting to see how the assumption that because the dog is a shepherd it must be a spook is so ingrained for a lot of people. Confirmation bias is strong, so I know if she acts up in public, she’s giving people a reason to continue thinking shepherds are aggressive and to be feared. I probably get judged a lot for how strict I am with her and how readily I’ll issue a tough correction if needed, even in public (which is probably another essay topic altogether), but the alternative wouldn’t be good either.

    2. I try to pay attention as well with my yellow Labrador Maya. Maya has this tendency to jump at people. It’s because she loves people so much, but she doesn’t understand that her actions can actually be rather frightening to people who don’t understand dogs. I guess you could say she is a good example of dog with bad manners. My fault, really. I could blame it on how she stops thinking and stops listening when she gets excited. But the truth is it’s easier to walk around people than it is for me to try to curb her enthusiasm. Plus, she tends to react less like a crazy dog when I move her to her threshold point.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Remy is doing a LOT of jumping right now. We call it the kangaroo hop, and it’s very annoying. I honestly can’t get him to stop unless he has the prong collar on. If he’s wearing his harness or the Gentle Leader, he hops on his hind legs and I either have to pass people as fast as I can while holding him back (while he’s on two legs) or turn around and go the other way. Embarrassing. If anyone has any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them before my dog is 80 pounds.

        1. When our dog did that to bicyclists, that freaked me out not only because it’s rude but because it could get me in big trouble. Minnesota dog bite law is not kind to dog owners and isn’t limited to bites! She got a hard side correct (with prong collar) and, “LEAVE IT!” when she did that. Normally I’d take the tack of trying to show her what TO do first, but that was just too dangerous.

          1. Actually, there’s a topic. I think we all would prefer to be gentle and positive with our dogs to start, and give them a chance to be successful, but there are some behaviors that are just plain too dangerous (to the dog or to someone else), and those need to be corrected, unequivocally, right away. Jumping at bicyclists and chewing on cords were two of mine.

          2. Lindsay Stordahl

            Yep, so true. Interesting topic. One of mine is any kind of aggressive behavior to my cats.

        2. Maybe you could get some people together to do bypasses with Remy, have the people totally ignore Remy and when Remy is calmer the people would close the gap until it’s so boring for Remy she/he don’t even care. Since Remy is still a pup this might work. We do this with new dogs to our pack to help introduce them. After a while they just ignore the other dogs and handlers.

    3. With both of our black lab mixes, I notice some people will cross the street to avoid them. For some of them, I think they would do the same if I only had our 13″ beagle with me. It’s funny to me because Jango (1.5-yr old lab mix) is the goofiest dog… he’s floppy, and his tail is always wagging; he wouldn’t hurt a fly and broadcasts that message loud and clear. He is great around other dogs, with the exception of two GSDs we regularly encounter, who bark and lunge when we pass; now, Jango thinks he needs to protect me from those two. The two GSDs are owned by separate people, and they are really friendly people. Both of these GSDs had rough starts in life, and their owners are working on it. I don’t avoid them when I see them because, to me, it’s a good opportunity for all of us to work on corrective behavior (you just cannot teach that at home).

      I hope I don’t sound racist when I say this, but I have noticed the people who cross the street when we pass almost always people from Africa or India, who are relatively new to the country. We have several families in our neighborhood where the kids went to college here, got jobs here, then brought their parents here to care for. I wonder if it is a culture difference with how certain dogs are treated in their home countries vs. here in the USA, though I would have never guessed goofy lab would have fallen into that category.

      1. That actually makes a lot of sense – I know at least in India, the idea of owning a pet dog is totally foreign. We had some company from India once and they were very freaked out by our dog – I think to some cultures it’s bizarre, like having a goat or pig in your living room!

  3. I was hiking this weekend (without dog) and was approached by a woman with a doberman who was lost and wanted trail directions. I could tell from how she assured me her dog was friendly – and the fact that the dog was, indeed, mannerly – that people had been judging her and, as a result, she might not have gotten the info she needed as quickly from people afraid of her dog. Glad to help her on her way.

  4. This is very well written and explained. Though I think it is unfair to judge a dog by its breed, I won’t be able to change how other people think if I force my dog onto them and not be respectful of their space. You know, it’s kinda funny about how much my mother loved dogs, but believe it or not she was absolutely paranoid of Dobermans. She’d never been attacked by one or anything. It was just an unexplained phobia that she couldn’t control.

    1. I tend to operate off “it is what it is.” A lot of people hate that phrase, but I think in this particular domain of life, I have better success with not forcing things. My preference is to just be out there with my dog and letting her do her thing (politely of course). If someone sees an example of a GSD behaving well and handling herself in public, that’s a good thing. She’s turned around a few preconceived notions, but those people were also open to that information because I wasn’t forcing her on them.

    2. Lindsay Stordahl

      Dawn, did you ever have a Doberman mix? For some reason, I thought you might’ve. You’ve had such a variety of breeds.

  5. I still remember the time (before I had a dog of my own), I came across a lady and her gigantic Rottweiler. He was such a handsome dog but she quickly moved as far away from me as she could get. I stopped and said “Could I pet your dog?” and I swear she was going to start crying. He was a big floppy happy dog who just wanted love from everyone but she was so used to people being scared of him that that was what she expected. I wish people would take dogs as individuals but I know plenty of people don’t. I even had people move across the road to get away from my super mellow dog who walks at a snail’s pace. She’s all black and “big” to people who don’t know dogs (in reality she only weighs about 45 pounds, though her thick coat makes her look larger).

  6. By reading some of these blogs I have been on alert with my staffi as she is only 11 months old she is a well mannered diva dig haha she dies not act like other staffs but recently she was atracked by another male staff who if I didnt interfere would have killed her the owner really didnt do much to help with his dog and did apologise luckily my dog had superficial wounds but me on other hand has shattered knuckles by affending my dog but tbf from then on I always have this old lady who gives staffis a real bad name. She has a lovely old german sheperd very old when im in the field with my dog she screams at me to put my staffi on a leash my dog is so playful and she can see that as she watches my dog play with huskis german sheperds labs etc but she always shouts to me and not others so would that be she defo has a bad problem with staffs or she just dont like me lol.

  7. I am very very nervous around Chihuahuas. Any of them I have met tend to be snippy. All other breeds, I have the problem of NO FEAR. I love them all and walk right up to visit. Of course unless they are growling and showing teeth. Then I will give the animal a wide berth. I was bitten by a Shepard in my early years but that never made me afraid of them. I live by the saying “No bad animals, just bad owners”. However, I know this is not always true.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Everyone’s comments are so interesting. I tend to give most medium and large dogs space when I pass them on walks. I’ve been bitten by a couple of large dogs (in other scenarios, not on walks) and those experiences were scary for me. As much as I love dogs, I just don’t even ask to pet strange dogs out of respect for them.

  8. Thank you! I have a pit mix. He’s the goofiest, most lovable, friendliest dog you could meet. But– he does have that blocky head and chest, and I see people visibly shrink away from him on occasion. I try to be aware and move away from people if we are heading in too closely, and give space to other dogs, as well. Not because my dog is a problem- if anything, he faults to being TOO friendly (bordering on rude sometimes). But if people see him pull on the end of the leash (because I let us get within his “Oh, boy, a new friend!” distance), it is often interpreted as the pit bull being aggressive. I have had people tell me how well behaved he is (sometimes with an implied “for a pit bull”), and I am always glad of the work put in to socialize him properly. I was told by a trainer when he was a baby (we adopted him at 8 weeks) that if we worked with him consistently he could be an ambassador for his breed. I think he does okay.

  9. I was out walking with my rottie and my aussie mix who we refer to as “the terrorist “. Someone asked to pet my dog so I said the rottie would love that. The person said that they were afraid of him as he sat quietly. They wanted to pet the snarling lunging pretty dog. Go figure!

  10. The flip side to all of this, that I didn’t talk about above, is that there are also times I trade on the reputation of the GSD. They are imposing dogs, and at 24″ and 77 lb, my dog is a large shepherd. I appreciate that if I don’t feel completely at ease, the presence of my dog is likely to help deter someone with nefarious intent. Without the reputation of the GSD as aggressive, I may not net that same benefit. So there is that.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yep, definitely. I even feel that way a little with my black Lab mix. He is about 65 pounds with a deep bark. Enough to make someone think twice. Although not as intimidating as a shepherd, it helps.

  11. I can relate to both sides of the coin. Growing up, I was terrified of dogs, any kind of dog. My grandmother lived just up the street from us, but between our houses lived a smaller dog (maybe 15 lbs or so) that was often out in front of his house. I was terrified to walk by him. If i saw that he was out, I would walk around the block.

    My brother took me to his inlaws once when I was about 10 years old, and their yellow lab jumped on me. I was in hysterics, while everybody laughed at me, as “Bengel” wouldn’t hurt a fly.

    Fast forward to eight years ago. I had slowly got over my irrational fear, even did some dogwalking for the local humane society, and my husband and I were finally in a position to get a dog. Something medium size, like a Wheaton terrier or so… And then we talked to a friend of a friend who was a German Shepherd breeder. We just wanted to talk to an expert about what to expect when getting a puppy. And he just happened to have a few puppies available. That is how we got Suki, and 18 months later Diva.

    Now we’re the ones with the big, scary GSDs. We try to be very aware of people around us, will have them sit at the side of the path or sidewalk so others can pass. We have seen people cross the street when we approach. And you know what? That was me on my way to see my grandmother – I get it!

  12. Our Doberman Benzy did not get a great reception with many folks. I can’t blame them – he was dark, he had a scary bark, but of course was a huge sweetheart.
    Many folks would immediately seem nervous, prompting my mom or me to always let others know that he was friendly.
    It did bum me out a bit, but most people warmed up right away after seeing how friendly he could be.

  13. I can relate to SYLV. I too was afraid of most dogs and have since owned 2 dogs at different times as an adult. I can still be nervous. I still don’t like any strange dog big or small running up to me while on a walk. I am very sympathetic to people who are afraid and never pooh-pooh their fears. I think big dogs and the so called more dangerous breeds can do more damage if they do bite, so that is what frightens people. Having lived more than 1/2 of my life outside of the States I can testify to the fact that for many other cultures either see dogs as outside protection dogs (former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe) or they are just trying to survive. Being able to have a dog as a pet is a luxury that many cannot afford. Middle Eastern people often see dogs as dirty. These are generalizations I know, but that has been my observation.

  14. Since Laika looks pretty Shepherd like I can certainly relate to this. Most adults seem to ignore us when we’re out, but kids? Oh they’re absolutely fascinated by her, and many call her a “police dog.” She’s the first dog I’ve ever had that gets that much attention from kids and it’s pretty sweet – she absolutely loves them.

    Adults on the other hand tend to keep their distance (even when she’s on her best behavior) and it’s a bit weird. But it has made me realize that people do hold a lot of assumptions when it comes to dogs, and it’s made me realize I have some of my own. (whenever I see a Lab I assume it’s super friendly)

  15. Sandy Weinstein

    yes and no, i have mini schnauzer and people think they are yappy, snippy, etc. when we go to events, people tell me they cant beleive how well behaved my girls are. they always thought schnuazers were nippy, yelpers, and too needy. i have met some wonderful dogs that are german shepherds, just as sweet as they can be, same with other big dogs and other breeds. i just think the public needs to be educated that it is not the dog, breed but the person who raised the dog or how it started its life. many dogs that were abandoned or abused may have some issues, but most of the time with love and patience they can be reformed. i know that reputable breeders are make sure their dogs have good temperments which is why they dont allow you to breed a dog they get from you. they want the line pure. my dog breeder has wonderful dogs, all of her dogs have wonderful temperments. she is also a certified therapy trainer and teaches classes, as well as most of her dogs have some therapy training. it is funny b/c sometimes the big massive dogs are the sweetest dogs. i have seen rat terriers and chihuahuas that are very mean, growl, bark, nip, etc. so i dont think you can judge a dog by its breed, size, etc. my pet sitter has a chihuahua and he is the sweetest thing.

    1. I completely agree that nurture is a big factor – properly socializing and training a dog is crucial. But so is nature. I would absolutely expect that 1) a dog is its breed; my dog acts, on average, like a German Shepherd because that’s what she is, and 2) that in general the dog’s genetics plays a big role in base temperament. Training and care are important but so is the genetic raw material. You can never get away from what a dog is born to be, even though you can modify behavior to a point with training.

  16. My Shepherd/Great Dane mix was 130 pounds of goofy. When I would take him for walks, people would scatter. Little kids on the other hand, would run up to hug him. That was generally the clue to those watching that my dog would do no more harm than slathering them with slobbery kisses.

    Til this day, I’m still astounded by the fact that people judge a dog by its size or breed. I’ve met lovable Pit Bulls and tea cup Chihuahuas that would rather gnaw your hand off than be petted. The age old secret of never judge a book by it’s cover rings very true in this case.

    To answer your question on how to handle the breed stereotyping and being a breed ambassador, it’s simply to show not tell. Enjoy your walk in the park and show everyone how wonderful your pup is, eventually, they’ll learn to accept her. If not, it’s their loss.

    1. One could, hypothetically, turn that example on its face by pointing out that small dogs get just as bad of a rap in a different way and that I’ve met plenty of small dogs who don’t want to shred your hand! 😛

  17. I have a GSD, Chihuahua, and two Rotties. People can be very unkind to them. I socialized all my dogs with people and other pets. And still get harassed by people. I always have my dogs with me and when we go get gas in the car the attendants open the back glass and reach in to hug my dogs .
    I had to get a tire fixed on the car the other day and the guy sat on the tailgate with me and was hugging one of my Rotties. And we are still harassed by others at the beach or park!

  18. I have a golden retriever and I get the same reactions most times as well. People don’t want to come near him or they will cross the street with their children or even by themselves. Once I was walking pass a group of guys with him and the man ran behind the other guy as if my Coby want to attach him . My dog just kept walking pass him and paid him no mind. I have had many ask me is he mean. My response is “have you ever met a mean golden retriever? I know I haven’t.

  19. Thank you for the article. I have an 8year old red Doberman with lovely floppy ears raised as a baby, who sleeps with my boy since he was born, sweet as he only can be, friendly, not an Alfa, just a puppy inside a big dog body. But… It’s a Doberman, know to be watch dogs, police dogs… Killers!!!
    So as you can imagine, 80%of the times we walk in our neighborhood I’m the one who Has to cross the street or stand outside the sidewalk over the grass or on the road because I can see the terror in people’s eyes. That’s ridiculous! Sometimes I return hone so upset and sad… Because they have the wrong idea and have missconsceptions about the breed . I called him Scooby Doo!! . Thanks Lindsay! Your articles are very useful to me, I always always read every single post and follow you!
    Maria Anderson from Boca Raton, Fl.

  20. Thanks for this article. I can relate, I own a pit bull cross chocolate lab. He is the friendliest dog ever, and anyone who gives him a chance will say the same thing. However, not everyone is willing to give him the chance. I’ve had people ask me to keep my distance when I’m with my dog. One lady actually told me that my dog does not look friendly and to keep it away from her dog. Her dog (golden retriever) then approached my dog (my dog was on a leash, and her dog was off-leash) and he was the aggressive dog in the situation. The golden then tried to bite and lunge at my dog. It then took me a long time to get my dog comfortable with other dogs. I feel the need to tell this story to point out that all dogs can be aggressive. As friendly as a golden retriever is, they can also be just as aggressive if not more aggressive then any other dog out there. We need to stop assuming certain breeds are more dangerous then others, and come to the realization that it does in fact come down to the training of the dog. If you want an aggressive dog, you can certainly make that happen. That being said, if you have an aggressive dog, it’s more than possible to fix that aggression problem. Give all dogs a chance!

  21. When I`m out working/walking dogs,I have at least 2-5 dogs on each walk.Most of the dogs I walk Lab mixes and small dogs.I do have 3 really sweet large dogs.One German Shepherd and two Rottweilers.Some people are scared to death of them.They run across the street,pick their children up and carry them.Me I just smile.Some of the small dogs I walk I had to work on because of their barking and snapping at other dog and people.I just try to teach people that the Shepherd`s and Rotts are very sweet dogs and the owners have worked really hard to train them.It not going to change because the fear began when they where children. Tuff to fix that.

  22. So my situation is interesting. I’ve always had big dogs that people love…setters, retrievers and labs. Then I got a rescue puppy last summer not realizing at the time that she was a Pit Bull mix, and that those Pit Bull features would appear as much as the Boxer/Pointer mix that we suspected then, and now too. 2 things. 1) I am one of those people afraid of Pit Bulls, as a result of an incident that I witnessed long ago, but I literally don’t have that fear with any other dog. 2) Izzy was abused, although you can’t see any physical abuse, and she’s terrified of all people, except me whom she’s leached on to now. Now I have a Pit Bull mix, who is as afraid of people as they are of her, and God’s little joke on me ending up with a Pit Bull mix, has helped me loosen up a bit on my judgement of the breed, and I know I would never give her up now. As for other all seemingly aggressive breeds, I judge them more by their owners behavior than the breed.

  23. We have Neopolitan Mastiffs. People either react with extreme fear (hiding in doorways) or with no fear whatsoever (allowing their toddlers to run up unexpectedly and hug the dog 6 times their size with no warning). One of the problems we have encountered with the fearful people is that our dogs are very smart and started figuring out that they have power over people. Really not something you want them to think!!

  24. Maria from Fl

    You know I’m Pipi the dobie’s mom. It happens to me all the time. It makes me sad, to be honest. When they don’t cross to the opposite sidewalk it’s me ,because I can see and sometimes hear comments about my Doberman. People raising their little dogs, going down the street with their kids, women running changing their route… I don’t know how to manage that, I can’t and I tired to tell people that my dobie is just a dog not a shark! So, that the situation… Sad. Big dogs have bad reputation and we have to deal with that..

  25. Sandy Weinstein

    i dont like chows. i have seen some nice ones. a friend of mine has some nice show chows. i pet them. however, when i was abt 5, my next door neighbors chow attacked me for no reason. he knew me and i was just petting him on the back, he turned and bit my face, i had to have over 50 some stitches and still have a scar on my face today. i have read that chows have even been known to attack their owners and they are one breed that you should not have around kids. i am not fond of doberman’s either, a neighbor had one and he rushed out of the house and attacked my brother as we were walking home from school. we were in the street and not on the yard. the house was set way back from the street as well. i know some sweet ones, but i always keep my guard up. there are even some small dogs that are rough, but since they are small, i am not scared of them. i hate it when people call staffordshires pit bulls. they have a bad ramp as well. they used to be called nanny dogs. i love german shepherds but hate how the breed has changed in the us, with the low back and walking on their hocks.

  26. i have a pit/cane corso mix (Jasmine), she’s about 2.5 now. In the past 2 motnhs we’ve started her at real out of home training at a local place. Before training, she was protective of her home but knew who the “nice people” are. Even then if someone walked in that she didn’t know, she’s all bark anyways. She literally has never had a true mean bone in her body. But when we started training, that kind of changed. She doesn’t like being around dogs she can’t see or meet. *she was attacked when she was just under a year old by a neighbors dog that until it happened she couldn’t see only hear through a door* so we’ve worked on it and she’s definitely gotten better. but we still have a long road ahead because before I had this dog that just wanted to love on every breathing thing in sight and now i’m contemplating putting a muzzle on her when we go for walks so she isn’t tempted to react in any harsh manner. We have another dog, pit/boxer mix (Ziggy; literally the sweetest and most calm puppy i’ve ever encountered in my life!), they live together. eat together, go outside together. they even cuddle on a daily basis. they LOVE each other. but any other dog comes around or gets to close to Ziggy and you see a fearful aggressive reaction come fro Jasmine. It’s scary for me because although where i live majority of the dogs are pitbull or some sort of pit mix, she may show her attitude to the wrong dog and get hurt or even worse she may hurt a dog. I never imagined I would encounter this, and i’ve looked at countless training sites & talked to my trainers, they act like there’s minimal hope and that is such a soul hurting thing to feel. I guess this minimally goes with the topic, but i wrote it to say that i understand how people treat certain breeds, because even though mine will play into the “mean” role some times, i will always have to show i know how to handle her and control her no matter the situation so no one tries to look at other large/beefy breeds with fear.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear you’re dealing with some aggression issues with your girl. That sounds so stressful. I hope you’re able to work through it. As for the muzzle, you could start training her to wear one so she’s used to wearing it if you do decide she needs it. You could make it a “fun” trick for her.

      1. its weird i look all this stuff up but i truly never thought of turning the muzzle into something fun. maybe because its been put in our heads that when you see a dog with a muzzle that means bad. but she just gets so nervous. i’ll definitely try turning it into something fun and rewarding, thank you!

  27. Sometimes putting a muzzle on your dog can lead to two things-one people will think your dog is automatically bad and that is why they have to wear a muzzle and two, they cannot defend themselves if a dog comes up and attacks them. I have german shepherds that don’t do well with strangers. We work on it daily but I don’t think they will ever be okay with strangers (I feel this is okay because not all people are good with other people so why do our dogs automatically have to be good with other people and dogs). I have accepted this and I tell people that my dogs do not do well with strangers. Luckily we have acreage that I can walk my dogs on so that they get their daily exercise and we will always make sure that anywhere we move has some type of acreage so that we do not have to find populated walks to exercise our dogs. It is a small sacrifice for our dogs who live such short lives and give us so much.

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